The iconic Birkin bag by Hermès has always been a symbol of opulence and prestige in the fashion world. However, behind its legendary fame is a controversial issue that has concerned animal advocates for years: the use of crocodile skins in its manufacture.
Following the death of actress and singer Jane Birkin, PETA has used the occasion to call on Hermès to recall versions of handbags bearing her name that are made from crocodile skin. The animal rights group is calling on the luxury house to take a stand against the slaughter of wild animals for fashion and opt for more sustainable, cruelty-free materials.
In July 2015, Jane Birkin raised concerns about the use of crocodile skins in handbags, and went so far as to request that her name be removed from Birkin until more humane practices were adopted. Hermès finally reached an agreement with the actress in September of that year and continued to use her name on all versions of the bag, including the crocodile-skin version. The Anglo-French actress’s activism continued, as she consistently donated the royalties she received from Hermès to charitable causes.
While exotic skins remain popular with some luxury brands, PETA hopes that Hermès will consider this opportunity to respect the memory of Jane Birkin and position itself as a responsible leader in the fashion industry.
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